It was an all too familiar script on Saturday night for Kentucky. For the second time this season the Cats jumped out to a double digit lead. However just like the Florida game Tennessee rallied to win. The Vols defense came up with a goal line stand late to preserve the win. It wasn’t pretty for the Big Blue Nation but let’s recap what went wrong as Kentucky falls to Tennessee 17-13.
Kentucky Falls To Tennessee 17-13
A Hot Start
The Cats began the game with their best drive of the season to go up 7-0. After taking the opening kick, Kentucky went 75 yards in 17 plays holding the ball for 10 minutes. A.J. Rose took it the final two for his fourth touchdown of the year. The Vols went three-and-out on their first possession then Josh Paschal blocked the punt. Two plays later Kavosiey Smoke went 22 yards to the house and it was 13-0. However the extra point was blocked.
Kentucky Football Kryptonite
UK went in at halftime leading 13-3 after dominating the time of possession 22 minutes to eight. In addition they out gained the Vols 185 yards to 38 on the ground. However Tennessee coach Jeremy Pruitt decided to bench Brian Maurer for Jarrett Guarantano.
As we’ve seen too many times in Wildcat football history, it paid off with immediate dividends. On the first possession of the second half Guarantano hit Marquez Callaway on a 17-yard pass cutting the lead to three. When Tennessee got the ball back he hit Josh Palmer for a 12 yard touchdown giving the Vols 14 unanswered and a four point lead.
On the other side of the ball the Tennessee defense made some great adjustments to stop quarterback Lynn Bowden. However it seemed like Kentucky was set on running the same thing again and again. Three different times in the second half the Vols stopped Kentucky on downs. None was bigger than at the end of the game.
Following a Marquan McCall recovery of a Ty Chandler fumble with eight minutes to go, the Cats had a chance to win. Bowden, Smoke and Chris Rodriguez got the ball down inside the five yard line. However the Cats couldn’t punch it in and on fourth down Daniel Bituli made the play of the game.
— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) November 10, 2019
A Tough Night All Around
On an evening where they held the ball for almost 42 minutes and ran for 302 yards Kentucky falls to Tennessee 17-13. In addition this is the second time in four years the Cats have run for over 300 yards against the Vols and still lost. Usually whenever Kentucky runs the ball well they win.
Dating back to the 1995 season, Kentucky is 38-2 in their last 40 games when they rush for at least 230 yards. Both losses have come against Tennessee (2016, 2019).
— Corey Price (@coreyp08) November 10, 2019
As mentioned earlier, this is the second time in 2019 the Cats lost after having a double digit lead. They let Florida score 19 unanswered in a 29-21 loss. Some questions need to be answered by Mark Stoops after letting yet another game slip away. If he was healthy why not give Sawyer Smith a chance at quarterback? Let Bowden try to make plays as a wide receiver, especially since they didn’t have Ahmad Wagner. Former coach Rich Brooks seems to sum things up nicely.
Cats have a very tough loss. Very hard to win when you can’t throw it.
— Rich Brooks (@UKcoachbrooks) November 10, 2019
Much like the Florida loss this one is going to sting for a while. For many True Blue Fans the last decade this is the closest Kentucky has been to Tennessee in terms of talent. However the Cats are only 2-8 against the Vols.
With the win Tennessee moves to 5-5 on the season and greatly helps their bowl chances. Following a bye week they play at Missouri and host Vanderbilt needing one win for eligibility.
As for Kentucky they drop to 4-5 and their bowl chances take a hit. They head to Nashville next week to play Vandy. After that they host Tennessee-Martin and Louisville to finish the season. They have to win two of their last three. Despite the injuries especially losing Terry Wilson, not making a bowl after a 10 win season last season would be a huge disappointment.
Again after being stopped on the two yard line Kentucky falls to Tennessee 17-13. Thanks for checking out our recap here at Last Word On College Football. We’ll see if the Cats can regroup against Vandy next week.